[Video] How Can My Company Get Started With Information Architecture?



What can seem very daunting to organization is the fact that this problem is big and challenging and difficult. However, there's a very simple way to get started. And that is looking at your business problems today. Look at the business. Look at the problems, look at the challenges, look at the initiatives, look at the competitive strategy, the go to market strategy and say, Where are we not optimized? Where do we need to do a better job? Do we need to do a better job supporting our customers? Do we need to do a better job with self service? Do we need to do a better job with call center efficiency? Do we need to do a better job with personalization or contextualization? And depending upon the problem, the business problem, we need to deconstruct that business problem into its constituents. We need to say well, what does this mean? What processes support that business outcome and work backwards from what I just said about the data supporting a process supporting the business outcome.

We start with the business objective. And then we say, well, what processes support that objective? And then we say, well, what data is needed to support or enable those processes? And then we look at the architecture and say, Okay, where do we have inconsistencies? Where is the data not in alignment? Where's the architecture inconsistent, right, we're doing a project for an organization that has multiple systems, we need to re-platform their entire digital marketing ecosystem. Well, we can start out by looking at all those systems and seeing where they're just out of alignment, right, there's just these architectures and these data structures, and these organizing principles and taxonomies - have grown up independently and organically, without following consistent standards and consistent processes and without having governance.

And what that leads to is an enormous mess, right, because people just glom on, they just add on a category when they need to they add on a term, they put terms in the wrong places, they conflate navigation with classification, they do stuffing of attributes, there's all sorts of problems that that grow up over time. So you can get a clearer sense of where you are. And you can get a clearer sense of where you need to go by looking at the business problem by looking at the processes that would solve that problem by looking at the tools or technologies and the data that enable that process. And then prioritization exercises are good. Because it says, what do we want to prioritize on? Is it the low hanging fruit? Is it a little quiet project that we want to test ourselves on to make sure we get it right? Before we do it more broadly? Or is it going to be a bigger project where we can get the attention of the organization? And we're, and we're confident that we can solve it? Or is it based on something that has clear, measurable, hard ROI? Or is it something that's going to enable another process, it's going to enable customer 360?

So you really have to start thinking about what factors you want to use to prioritize your efforts. And to be able to say, Okay, this is what the organization is ready for. It's also based on readiness, you know, who is looking for this intervention? Who's looking to solve this problem? Who cares about this problem? How is it being measured? Isn't measurable? Does it have a broad audience or narrow audience? Does it cover multiple processes or single process. Depending upon what's important, depending upon what's realistic maybe we want to do something that's not very complex at first. That doesn't have high visibility. But but you know, so these different factors need to be taken into consideration. And we do prioritization workshops with organizations where we identify the factors and in some cases, a strong factor for one organization or project will be a weak factor for another one. So we really need to be able to decide what is important to the organization, what are they ready for? What do they have an appetite for? What can they do based on the Enterprise maturity, maturity of the process, the data readiness, the application requirements.

So then you start prioritizing these. And you can look at these according to maturity models and say, Well, where are we? What's our current state? And then where do we need to be? And then where's this project going to bring us? So there's a bunch of different ways of looking at this. But when you go through these exercises, you can get everybody on the same page. It really is great for establishing a strong consistent vision.


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Earley Information Science Team

We're passionate about managing data, content, and organizational knowledge. For 25 years, we've supported business outcomes by making information findable, usable, and valuable.